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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a male to attain or sustain an erection sufficient for
It can be a persistent condition; however, almost half of all men experience ED only occasionally. ED can
have physical, psychological, or drug-induced causes.1 Although some doctors used to believe
differently, most researchers and doctors now believe that physical factors are responsible for the majority
of ED cases.
Several conditions may contribute to ED by impairing blood flow to the penis. These include atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and chronic alcohol abuse.
ED is defined by the symptoms listed above. Symptoms may also include loss of sexual desire (libido), premature ejaculation, or inability to achieve orgasm.
Men who smoke have been shown to have an increased incidence of ED.2
In a study of obese men with erectile dysfunction, a two-year lifestyle
program consisting of a low-calorie diet plus regular exercise resulted in a
significant improvement in erectile function, which became normal in 31% of the
ED that cannot be linked to physical causes has been successfully treated by hypnosis.4 In one trial, three hypnosis sessions per week, later decreased to one per month, over a six-month period led to improvement in 75% of men in the trial.
Acupuncture might be of some benefit for men with ED. Electroacupuncture, which is acupuncture accompanied by electrical stimulation, was performed on various acupuncture points in men with ED in a preliminary trial of men with this condition.5 Two treatments were administered every week for one month. An improvement in quality of erection was observed in 15% of the participants and an increase in sexual activity was reported by 31% of the men. Another preliminary trial6 found good results in over half of the men treated, but the only controlled trial of electroacupuncture for ED7 found that placebo also produced a large improvement in sexual function—an effect similar to that of acupuncture. Controlled trials with larger groups of men are necessary to better test the efficacy of acupuncture therapy for men suffering from ED.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.
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